London, 23rd October 2023- The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians welcomes the call for ceasefire by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. In a visit to Jerusalem the Archbishop joined the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem in condemnation of the Israeli airstrike attack on the Orthodox Church compound of Saint Porphyrios. ICJP also welcomes the call for a ceasefire from Ed Davey leader of the Liberal Democrats Party, and leader of Scottish National Party Stephen Mark Flynn, who has rightfully called out the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.
On the night of October 19th 2023, an Israeli airstrike targeted the historical site of the one the oldest churches in the world, Church of Saint Porphyrios. Christian and Muslim civilians had taken refuge in the compound as places of worship are considered a safe point of refuge in times of war. The church was first built in the fifth century, and the blasts from the Israeli bombs led to the collapse of two historic church halls.
Tragically, at least 18 people were killed in the attack and dozens more were injured. Archbishop Welby, in agreement with the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem released a statement rightfully calling for an immediate ceasefire. The statement also demanded that humanitarian aid, fuel, water and medical equipment be immediately allowed into Gaza to relieve displaced Palestinians. The twenty trucks full of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza have been referred to by the World Health Organization as a ‘drop in the ocean’ of their urgent needs. Prior to the escalation, 100 trucks of food, fuel and medical supplies would enter daily.
Israel need not break more international laws to be condemned or to be held accountable. International law is the shared language of the world and Israel must be held accountable to it. Israel must comply with international law and stop the killing of civilians. 300 to 400 people are killed daily in Gaza and this should be reason enough for a ceasefire to be called now. Forty percent of the victims of Israeli airstrikes are children and UK politicians must call for it to end now.
Archbishop Welby bravely opposed the current British policy in his call for a ceasefire and condemnation. It is unfortunate to see the current government aiding and abetting Israeli forces in their attack on Gaza through their language. The Archbishop reflects the views of the British people and their call for an immediate ceasefire. Hundreds of thousands of British citizens have come out in protests across the UK proving that the British public condemns the committal of war crimes and urges the government to take action and call for a ceasefire. Indeed, a recent YouGov poll shows 76% of the UK public support a ceasefire.
These are times where the British government and opposition are becoming increasingly complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity. UK politicians must follow in the footsteps of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Leader of the SNP party, and Leader of the Liberal Democrats party. It is a duty to comply with international law, and it is a duty to condemn and oppose war crimes.
Notes to Editors:
- The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians is an independent organisation of lawyers, politicians and academics who support the rights of Palestinians and aim to protect their rights through the law.
- The Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement can be read here.
- The YouGov poll referenced can be found here.
- For more information, or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson please contact Public Affairs and Communications Officer Jonathan Purcell: [email protected]